Title: We Hunt The Flame
Author: Hafsah Faizal
Genre: Fiction/ Romance/ YA/ Fantasy
Source: Kindle Recommendation
Favourite Quote: ‘The glint of a blade turned the tides of the world. They had been poets of the kill, once. Honour to their creed. But that was long before Nasir’s time. He didn’t live. He existed. And no one understood the difference between the two until they ceased to live.’
People lived because she killed. People died because he lived.
Zafira was only a girl when she had stumbled out from the Arz, the first time anyone had ever returned from the cursed forest that was slowly expanding onto their kingdom. She was the only person who could find her way through without the darkness consuming her. Unfortunately, women weren’t accepted as equals and were quickly shamed, so the only way to feed her village was to take on a male persona and become the Hunter of Arz, a calling she had given herself in order to make sure her people were safe and well fed. When the silver witch appears to her and provides her with the opportunity to bring back the lost magic to destroy the Arz forever, she can’t help but feel the pull towards the journey that will take her away from her family. Even if it meant her journey ended up in the forsaken land of Sharr, the island of Kharra, a prison for all evil beings that once overthrew the kingdom of Arawiya.
Nasir was known across the land as ‘The Prince of Death’. A title fitting for a royal assassin corrupted by his father, the Sultan. It was a job he was highly skilled in, a profession pushed onto him by his parents when he was younger, the targets themselves given to him by his very own father to better his rein over the kingdom. What the people didn’t know, was that their once kind and loyal Sultan was actually being consumed by the darkness which had taken over his mind long ago. When his father commands him to follow the Hunter to Sharr to collect the missing book that will bring magic back to the land, Nasir can’t help but obey. Even if it means destroying everything in his path to obtain it, including the Hunter.
‘”How can a book restore magic?” Zafira asked.
“In the same way a book can reenact the history of civilisation, instruct upon a delicious dish, or tell a tale of pleasure,” she said. “Do you question how a girl like yourself returns from the Arz?”
“And you expect her to go alone?” Deen asked.
“If I wanted a party, boy, I would make one,” the witch said. She turned, cloak fanning around her. “Death will be her companion. He’s kept her safe all this time. Why stop now?”
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I actually got around to reading it twice in the end before I came to review it. I thought the story was absolutely brilliant and captivating, already I can’t wait to read the next instalment, ‘We Free the Stars’ which is due to be released July 2020.
The characters were extremely well written with great backstories to build up their identities within the story, I honestly don’t know which was my favourite because they all brought a great atmosphere to the book. Zafira was a fantastic female lead with a strong sense of purpose, a resolved nature as well as being a young girl who has yet to experience love. Her inability to accept that she is driven to feel wanted and needed is an amusing factor since she is also so determined to be independant and detached from society with her secrets. She’s curious and young, you can’t begrudge her for her weak disposition when confronted with her own demons on Sharr.
‘Zafira held the power to change the views of the caliph’s staunch believers, to give women the equality that was their right. In the end, Zafira chose fear. She donned a man’s clothes and continued to hunt in the Arz with her father, creating a name for herself that was never quite her own. It belonged to a masked figure. A person who, at the end of the day, did not exist.’
Nasir is an interesting character with many faults being the only son of the corrupted Sultan, pushed into murdering others under the guise of an assassin. He’s been put through enough pain and punishment to come through to the other side broken and hollow. That doesn’t stop the small shred of hope within him to creep out, who simply just wants a father who loves him and stop to his cruel rein on terror upon the kingdom. He knows his place as the puppet for his master, for if he doesn’t do as he is commanded, others around him will die. It’s sweet to see how he begins to feel a connection to those around him in Sharr and that he can almost define them as companions on their journey without his father around. The innocent boy reappears at times which is extremely endearing, especially when he can’t help but stare at Zafira from a distance, the very person he has come to kill.
‘”If I told you my name, would you bow?” His voice was soft. A melancholy caress. He lifted his chin when understanding dawned on her face. “Or would you flee?”
The additional characters are fantastic aspects which you’ll come to love throughout the journey. Each character brought a new perspective into the realm, all coming together for one purpose, to destroy the darkness by bringing back magic. I especially liked Altair, the general to the Sultan. He’s got such a great sense of humor which reflects with his calm and collected disposition. He doesn’t let anything get him down and continues life through a bubble of satisfying ease, he would do anything to push Nazir’s buttons without risk of his life which made me laugh out loud a few times.
I really liked the exotic Arabian representation and the language that was brought into the story, it was clear to distinguish but just incase it may not be completely for you, author included a Glossary at the end to allow her readers to fully understand the vocabulary she introduced into her writing. The scenery was carefully constructed and well built up to always feel like you could envision the world around you. The dynamic change was brilliantly written every time, whether you were staring at the dark forest of Arz, creeping along the sandy colourful rooftops in Sarasin, walking through the vast dessert of Sharr or simply transversing to a dream world created by Benyamin. It was exciting, enchanting and a pleasure to read.
People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.
Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.
Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.
War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.
Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.